Suicidal cyclists, lawyer-beating bicyclists, killer jerk drivers. In other words, a typical Tuesday.

A few quick notes before I jump into a busy couple of days —

……..

An Auburn, Alabama letter writer wants to know why those suicidal cyclists insist on riding in the roadway when there’s a perfectly good bike path nearby.

Bicyclists that ride on roadways with a speed limit of more than 25 mph know that they are taking an exceptional risk, much like skydiving. If cyclists choose to get their exercise by cycling on the highway, that risk should not be put on motorists who are mostly just trying to get to and from work.

Never mind that cyclists have every bit as much right to the road as the motorists who seem to endlessly complain about us. And that “exceptional risk” wouldn’t exist if everyone — drivers and cyclists — would operate their vehicles safely and legally.

But what the writer is really saying is that he is incapable of driving safely around bikes, so anyone in his way is in danger.

As with most such complaints, all cyclists are seen as recreational dilettantes, while all drivers are just hard-working folks who only use their vehicles to earn a decent living.

Of course.

And we all have endless free time to attend council meetings and ride our bikes, unlike most decent people who have better things to do.

I know the bicyclists’ “union” comes on strong when lobbying the city council, but please consider the vast, silent majority who do not have the time to lobby the council or play in the street.

I smell a road rage waiting to happen.

If it hasn’t already.

……..

Proof that cyclists aren’t always the good guys.

After an attorney challenged a then-teenaged London cyclist for riding illegally on the sidewalk — they call it the pavement over there — the cyclist kicked the other man in the back and threw a beer can at him.

Then as the lawyer’s wife called police, the rider tackled him, taking him down so hard the police operator could hear sound of his head cracking on the sidewalk, leaving the helpless lawyer “a whisker from death.”

The rider, now 20, has spent the last three years in jail awaiting trial. Hopefully, he’ll spend quite a few more before he is once again inflicted on society.

Meanwhile, his victim says he’d probably let it go next time he faces a similar situation.

……..

Then again, sometimes drivers are just murderous jerks.

A British driver is on trial for running down and killing a cyclist – without even braking — then coming back to scream at the victim’s friend.

Blood tests show the driver was drunk and had cocaine in his system when he hit the 18-year old who was riding across the roadway to join his friends.

Witnesses also report he was speeding when he plowed into the rider, who had crossed after making sure the way was clear — or would have been if the driver had observed the speed limit; the lack of skid marks prevented the police from determining the actual speed of the driver’s SUV at the time of the collision.

Then after he stopped over 300 feet away, he walked back to yell at one of the victim’s companions — absurdly assuming the was the one who had been hit, while the real victim lay dying in the street.

And of course, he blamed the victim for a lack of lights, rather than his own intoxicated state and excess speed.

Because, you know, drivers like that are never responsible for their own actions.

……..

In California bike crime news, a Sacramento mother confronts an armed robber who had stolen her son’s bike at gunpoint. And gets it back when the teenage thief throws it down and runs away.

And a Stockton man somehow fights off an armed robber with his bike helmet (5th item).

……..

Bikeside President Alex Thompson questions why a pair of transportation experts — including the consultant who designed Long Beach’s bike facilities — were excluded from the recent invitation-only ThinkBike LA workshops.

It’s a fair question.  But somehow, I have a feeling the answer might be more mundane than his article suggests.

Meanwhile, Bikeside’s Mihai Peteu offers updates on a couple of Santa Monica traffic cases, and directs your attention to an important SaMo City Council meeting on Tuesday evening that will address bike boxes at Ocean Park and Main, as well as other bike-related issues.

……..

You could be sucking down more soot than you think. Or at least, more than the non-biking people around you.

On the other hand, a new bicycle sensor could keep you from riding into cars. I have a similar system that helps me avoid objects in the road; I call them “eyes.”

However, there are some things you definitely should get when you buy a bike.

……..

Finally, the Times makes just a slight boo-boo, as they drop a decimal point in a recent article. Turns out that surprisingly affordable $69 bike trailer you rushed out to buy over the weekend will cost $630 more than you thought.

But at least they’ve corrected their mistake.

5 comments

  1. j-han says:

    Hello!

    First off, thanks for the survival tactics page. Very helpful.

    I’m moving back to LA and thinking about using my bike for short trips getting around (going to cafe shops to work, bible study, church). I’m a LA native and hate driving in LA. But I’m wondering if biking might be worse?

    I’m not a pro cyclist, but have been practicing (I think I can turn using my body now! The bars turn ever so slightly. Still working on emergency braking).

    I’m wondering if you have ever biked down any of the following streets:

    Vermont Ave, Franklin Ave, Fountain Ave?

    Or any streets like those?

    I’m a little nervous about cycling down major streets because there are always tons of cars with drivers who don’t know how to drive.

    Thoughts? Tips?

    Much appreciated…

    • bikinginla says:

      Lately I’ve found that I enjoy riding much more than driving in city traffic. I find it takes abut the same amount of time to ride from the Westside to Downtown as it does to drive, and I enjoy the experience much more.

      Oddly, I also feel safer on my bike, as I’m usually not out in traffic lanes on heavily traveled streets where drivers seem willing to play bumper cars with one another. And I’m starting to think that motorists often give cyclists more room and respect than they do one another.

      I don’t personally ride any of those streets, since I don’t often go to the Hollywood area. However, I know Fountain was one of the first streets to get sharrows, and could soon get bike lanes or sharrows through West Hollywood.

      Usually you can find a quieter street that parallels busier main streets. Busy streets are often much calmer after dark; for instance, I won’t ride Olympic Blvd during the day, but find it a great alternative after dark or on weekends. I find with a little experimentation, you can usually find a route you like to go virtually anywhere.

      Once you try riding, however, I think you’ll find there’s a lot less to worry about than you might fear. The key is to ride confidently and take your place on the road; don’t be afraid to take the lane when you need to. You’ll find most drivers respect you more and give you more space than if you try to timidly hug the curb.

      You belong on the road and have a right to be there; just accept that and ride like it, and you’ll be fine.

      • j-han says:

        Thank you for your thoughts!

        I’m going to be as confident as possible. I’m sure it’ll get better as I get more used to it….

        Also, do you think I need pedals clips starting off? I won’t be cycling more than 5 miles one way for the time being…

        • bikinginla says:

          Clips aren’t necessary, though you’ll find they greatly increase efficiency by allowing you to pull up on the pedals in addition to your downstroke.

          However, if you decide to go with cleated pedals like Shimano or Look, do it before you start riding in traffic. There’s a learning curve as you get used to clipping in and out of your pedals, and you can plan on falling a few times until you get the hang of it.

          But once you get used to them, you’ll never want to go back,

  2. Opus the Poet says:

    The ironic thing about that cyclist injuring the lawyer in the UK is he got many times what the typical driver gets for killing a cyclist (or a pedestrian). I see frequent reports of 6 month suspended sentences with 250 hours of community service, and this guy’s victim was not even permanently disabled, much less killed…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

14 + 18 =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

%d bloggers like this: